The New Mexican-Americans in Wartime America: How the "Z-Oot Suit Riots" and the "Second Generation" Transformed Mexican-American Ethnic Politics

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Brady Dvorak


This paper looks at the unique demographic, economic, and cultural state of ethnic Mexicans living in the United States during World War II and how the "Zoot Suit Riots" both reflected the wartime ethnic relations between Latinos and Anglos and influenced the future of Mexican American civil rights movements. In particular, the riots will be examined within the context of the emergence of a pachuco youth culture within the second generation of US-born ethnic Mexicans. Newspaper articles of the time and complimentary research will also show how popular public perception of the events affected the way in which Mexican American community leaders would negotiate the ethnic politics of civil rights until the 1960s.


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